Every morning, at least, a sick person's face should be freshened up by washing, in whatever manner his strength best allows. One really ill must have it done by another person. A soft "wash rag " may be used. The water may be cold, if there is fever, or if there is not prostration with a tendency to chilliness. In the latter case, warm water is better, even for the face. Warm should be used also to wash the arms and 'legs and other parts of the body. In weak conditions, whiskey may be added to warm water for bathing the limbs, and pure whiskey or soap liniment should be used to bathe any parts of the skin which are subject to pressure. This is often important to prevent bed-sores. If the skin is quite or almost broken, a piece of buckskin spread smoothly with soap-plaster, or a piece of elastic adhesive plaster, or even common adhesive plaster (two thicknesses) may be, 532 as already said, put on to make an artificial protective cuticle.
A SIMPLE SHOWER-BATH.
When fever is hot and high, cool washing of the body is of great value. Some physicians now advise even cold baths for typhoid fever. I do not think well of this practice; unless, at all events, the patient is put in water which is at first warm or tepid, and cooled down gradually; also, without exposure to a low temperature for many minutes at a time. But cool sponging, in scarlet fever as well as in typhoid, is, without doubt, not only relieving but useful. It may be repeated two or three times daily.
In cases of low fever, and other cases in which restlessness at night is a symptom, bathing the arms and legs (one at a time, so as not to chill by exposure) with whiskey and hot water (equal parts) often gives much comfort and promotes sleep.
Warm baths are frequently beneficial in states of nervous excitement; as in the convulsions of children. Prolonged warm baths are also advised sometimes for tetanus (lock-jaw), and to promote the reduction of hernia (rupture). In spasmodic croup in children, a warm bath is often helpful. Hot baths do good in cold or depressed conditions of the system ; as in chronic rheumatism or neuralgia; and when the eruption does not come out or stay out well in scarlet fever, measles, or small-pox.
Hot-air baths, sometimes called Russian baths, must be always taken with dry air, so as to allow of free perspiration and evaporation from the body. This so mitigates the effect of heat that many people can bear an air bath above 2000 without inconvenience. Water baths affect the body chiefly according to their temperature. They may be divided as follows : Cold, 320 to 700 F.; cool, 700 to 850 F. ; tepid, 850 to 900 F.; warm, 900 to 960 F.; hot, 960 to 100° F. ; vapor, 100°to 1200 F.; hot air, 1300 to 250°F.